Haiku Extended Memory Haibun

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2016

Alone at last
I wonder where
Everyone is

Swede, AU, 87

This haiku really jumped out to me because it seems like something I would think or write. I'm the type of person that is completely alright with being alone and actually enjoy my alone time. You can tell the author feels the same way because he uses the phrase “at last” when talking about being alone. It reminds me of when I was still living at home and I would often times, when it was warm enough, sit out on the porch alone and just think about life and all the people who were a part of mine and all the people that are in the world just going about their lives too. I can just see myself sitting on the porch looking at the stars, perfectly content to just be alone and thinking to myself.

rolling fields
nothing but land
grab the clutch

Alexis Dockins

medieval town
to the worn stone steps
I add my own

Swede, AU, pg. 96

Over winter break, I had the opportunity to go spend a week in London for a class. While in London, one of my favorite sites was The Tower of London. The Tower is actually a huge tower in the center of a castle, in the heart of downtown London. We spent an entire day walking through buildings built in the 1010s, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Somehow, this small, ancient church next door was actually cooler than historic torture chambers and walking the wall on the outskirts of the fort. The church itself was pretty and quaint, but had obviously been remodeled on the inside. We explored this church for quite a bit when we discovered a sign for the crypt museum in the basement. This was one of my favorite experiences of the whole trip: an old church's basement. There were artifacts such as William Penn's marriage certificate and hundreds of urns for people lost many, many years ago. My favorite part was tucked into a corner and roped off: the floor. This church was so old that there was Roman Empire era pavement used as the tile for the basement floor. This chunk of speckled tiles was warped with age, but still looked very new, compared to how old it actually was. It just amazed me that something as simple as the ground that was around in the times of Caesar was still in existence and I was fortunate enough to see something so ordinary, yet ancient. I think it's funny how the Romans would think floor too trivial to preserve, but here I was, millennia later, simply gawking at it.

outside the castle walls
we raise
glass skyscrapers

Cori Grzenia

alone at last
I wonder where
everyone is

Swede, AU, 87

This haiku reminds me of my grandpa. He passed away when I was eleven. My grandpa was sick when he passed away. He had dementia and struggled with alcohol abuse. I remember going to see him in a nursing home for a Father's Day when I was younger. I remember sitting with my mom, my sister, and my uncle at an outside table with an umbrella. I don't remember why we had to wait to see him, but I remembering waiting outside with my family. I remember walking to his room and seeing a bunch of nurses and old people. It's a little frightening to a young kid to be around that many old, sick people. It's just a strange concept for a young kid to understand. I remember being in his room with my family. My mom gave him a book about the Cubs for Father's Day and someone else gave him a Babe Ruth. My mom got the Cubs book back after he passed away, and it sits next to our fire place with a bunch of other books. I remember my grandpa talking and my family asking him how it was there and if he liked it. I don't remember much of those conversations, though. My grandpa made a paper hat out of the newspaper he had in his room. I remember finding out that he used to make hats like that when he worked at the Chicago Tribune. The hats helped to keep the worker's heads clean. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. He made a hat out a newspaper, it was so simple. I remember when we were leaving, he asked who was taking him home. His question made a lot of people upset. I believe that my mom explained to me that he wasn't coming home and that's why his question was painful. This was one of the only times I got to see my grandpa after everything got really bad. Because of my grandpa, I learned what dementia was and I was able to see how much it can affect a family. Looking back now, it's amazing that he remembered how to make that paper hat. It's sad to think that he could remember that but not that he wasn't going home. It makes sense on why it was that way, though. It was strange when my grandpa died because I barely knew him. He was very sick for the majority of my life. It's strange going through old pictures and finding him in them. I have a picture from my first communion and he's there, but I don't remember him being there. It's difficult to be able to remember the time at the nursing home, but not happier memories. My grandma let me take a picture of him that I really liked after his funeral. He's smiling and is so happy, and that is how I chose to remember him.

a newspaper hat
and old memories—
who are you?

Corrin Littlefield

swinging on the hanger
her white summer dress
wind chimes

Swede, AU, 48

This haiku brings many different memories back. I have a white sundress that is my absolute favorite dress to wear in the summer. One specific memory I have in my dress was this past Fourth of July. I did not have a lot of red white and blue so I just wore my white dress with red lipstick. I braided my hair the night before so it was long and wavy that day. I wore my brown strappy sandals and it was one of those outfits that I felt good in. I started off the day like any other Saturday in summer; I went to my local farmer's market with my mom and sister. Walking through the aisles of food carts and craft stands is one of my favorite things to do in the summer because of the tacos we eat every weekend, even if it still morning.

We bought our usual pesto, bread, and kettle corn then left. My family did not have any big plans for the day and at the time I had a boyfriend so I went over to his house. He and his younger brother wanted to get fireworks, so we drove around town looking for a fireworks tent where they spent over $100. When we got back to his house, we walked down to the river which is about two blocks away. We skipped rocks along the river, his always skipping more than mine since he had a superior arm. I had to be careful not to fall the whole time because it was slightly muddy and I was wearing my white dress. The continued skipping rocks as the sun began to set on the river, which is one of my favorite past scenes. Once the sun went down completely, we walked back to his house where he and his family set off various fireworks on the street. It was one of the fondest memories I have in my white summer dress.

fireworks only shine
when you are
by my side

Erica Forbes

This past October, my comrades and I were fortunate enough to travel to Italy for 10 days. On this particular day, we were in Rome, figuring out our way around the train system, selfie-stick vendors, and the mandatory gelato-a-day. It was our day to wander the streets of Ancient Rome at the Coliseum and Forum. We spent a simply unforgettable day taking in the sights, letting our skin absorb the vitamin D of the strong sunshine and our minds drink in the delicious views we had only read about for much of our educational careers and dreamt about through movies and myths; that day, and trip in general, was unforgettable, to say the least.

sunlight sinks
over the temple
honey and milk

Genevieve Breitbach




empty baseball field
a dandelion seed floats through
the strike zone

Swede, AU, 19

This haiku reminds me bout back when I would play baseball back in the day, and I would either be early to practice or the last to be picked up by my parents. An empty baseball field is oddly calming and if they are not well kept, the dandelion seeds do float around quite frequently. So this poem makes me feel kind of lonely. I can see myself sitting on the bench waiting to get picked up and observing the beauty of the empty baseball field. When I would be picked up, I would keep the memories to myself and not share them with my parents because somethings are just sacred.

first base line
all alone

Jacob Hamilton

at the height
of the argument the old couple
pour each other tea

Swede, AU, page 109

This haiku takes me back to a memory I will never forget. I was in my grandmother's car, as she was driving me home from grade school on a warm September day. I was staring out the window, observing all of the houses and nature that filled the air on the ride home. At a stop sign in a residential area, I noticed an elderly couple, both with hair as white as snow, doing just the same thing I was doing-- observing. They had lawn chairs set up in the driveway, and each had mugs full of vanilla ice cream and sterling silver spoons in their hands. They sat in close proximity, chatting and people-watching the neighborhood. Now you should know that I am a sucker for senior citizens in that I adore spending time with them and getting to hear their stories from years past. I saw this scene and I saw true love. Not just a cute old couple, but whole-hearted love. That means that things aren't always perfect with relationships, in fact the best ones are those that have been through the arguments, the disagreements and the rough patches. In the long run, if a couple who has grown old together can still sit in their driveway and eat ice cream out of a mug, through the good times and bad, they have done it right. In this haiku, the old couple, to me, agrees to disagree before the argument becomes something that they will both regret. I adore this poem, and the memory it provoked.

old and grey
married for years
they clink their mugs of ice cream

Katherine Viviano

a cold wind
dead child's horse
rocks by itself

Swede, AU, page 36

I am in the house of one of my best friends. She used to have a sister. That sister's name was Megan. Megan was my brother, Jacob's, best friends. But Megan passed away just a few months ago from this moment. The funeral and grieving are over (for now). I don't exactly remember why I went to their house with my mom, but we were both there with Jenna (my friend) and her mom. We are sitting in their living room and Jenna mentions this new game “just dance” that she just got for the Wii. She asks me to play it with her, because she thinks I like it, so we do. While playing I realize it is an amazing game! We play for quite some time and then we realize its time for me and my mom to leave. As we are leaving, Jenna says to come back anytime because she never has anyone to play with. I almost say back to her, “What about Megan?” This was the first time that I realized Megan was really gone, and what kind of impact she left behind. Before she had passed away, she would play Wii with Jenna all of the time. Now she is gone, and there is nothing left behind of her presence but the air, wind, and the games she used to play. This poem reminded me of this memory because it mentions a child which is gone and the only thing left of that child is a toy he/she used to play with. Its one of those moments that makes you realize that the person is really gone, when the item they used to consistently go to is now only being moved or played with alone, without that person. Or the only thing that touches it now is the wind, because nobody who is still alive has the nerve to disturb it. It is a very somber, yet powerful image. Lauren Montesano

missing the face
of the girl
no longer there

iced-ringed branches
the leg in the cast
starts to itch

Swede, AU, 35

My senior year of high school, I marched second bass drum in our winter drumline. Our show was super cool, and we were determined to win for the second year in a row (also, only our second year in existence). A week and two days before the regional competition, I was walking hurriedly to my car (I was late for a rehearsal) and I slipped on a melting patch of ice, spiral fracturing my fibula. I sat for a minute on the dark pavement, feeling the warm sun on my back as the pain started to make its presence known. I asked my boyfriend's little sister to go grab my boyfriend, who carried me into the house. I called my mom to take me to the hospital, and found out that not only would I not go to rehearsal, or babysit, or dance, I would not be able to march for the rest of the season. Even as I write this now, I feel devastated. At that moment, my life felt like it was over. I couldn't dance or march, and was on crutches for the next month, taking away what remained of my dignity and independence. I took the next day of school off, to ice and elevate my newly useless leg. Everything froze over again that night, so looking out the living-room picture provided only a cold and cruel landscape, adding to my feelings of despair. And on top of that, my leg itched.

hopping on the hardwood
she will not be helped

Marah Kittelson

medieval town
to the worn stone steps
I add my own

Swede, AU, 96

I have never been to a medieval town before, but when I read this haiku it reminded me of Galena, IL. Galena is a really old town in northwestern Illinois and is the home of Ulysses S. Grant. My family, or least my dad and I, travel there at least once a year and it is one of my favorite places I have ever been to. There is a river that runs through the middle of the town in the valley which is where the downtown area is located. This winter, my immediate family, my aunt and uncle, and my grandma went for a weekend. In the downtown area, which is extremely old and classic looking, the sidewalks are partly made of old stones. Every time I walk on them, I cannot imagine the amount of people that have walked on them before. Specifically, this year, there is an old-looking staircase climbing the steep hill that leads to the downtown area. I decided to climb all 204 stairs straight up the hill. I could not help but think about how many other people, young and old, that have climbed the stairs before either out of curiosity, amusement, or quicker commutes to work or the shops. All of the cracks and chips in the stairs were caused by something, whether it was a person, animal, or weather deterioration over a long period of time. The history of the steps was something that someone could not even begin to imagine. In my mind I also associate the town of Galena with golf. There are many golf courses there and every time I go there with my dad, we play a lot of golf. I have some outstanding memories with him made on golf courses there. I really love the town of Galena and this poem reminds me of the numerous trips I have taken there in the past.

in the valley
river flowing
through the heart

Michael Barber

unhappy wife
I pedal my bike
through puddles

Swede, AU, page 47

For many reasons, I have spent a huge portion of my life fighting with other people, but I usually don't need to leave the issue like the person in this haiku because most fights don't make me angry. They make me frustrated or annoy me, or maybe I just needed a snack at the time. I am not bothered by conflict, so maybe I just needed to yell. That sort of thing happens all the time. I have only been in fights with one person that have made me really, truly angry (props to them—it's difficult to do). For a long period of my life, they happened frequently and got more vicious as we got older. They usually followed the same progression: first, someone had some pent-up anger over something that happened months ago. Next, they would take it out on the other person. The other person would get angry at this, and then we were in full fight mode—mortal combat style. Eventually, once everyone's feelings were good and hurt, one person would get fed up enough with the other to storm off in a rage and leave the other person hurting for days. Though this haiku doesn't even have to be about a fight, and it most certainly doesn't have to be about a string of vicious fights, it makes me think of how much time I spent walking around my town in a fit of rage, trying to burn off steam, run away from the whole mess, resolve my own thoughts, and stew even more all at the same time. The last line is especially important in my memory—many of these moments were strangely cathartic, and more than one of them happened in rain. My personal memories aside, rain in movies, TV, books, etc. is typically symbolic of change, which gives this haiku an interesting open-ended implication.

on our park bench
my phone rings
I ignore it.

Natalie Smith

alone at last
I wonder where
everyone is

Swede, AU, 87

I am an introvert. I'm pretty good with people, and my leadership and communication skills aren't bad at all, but I love to be alone. That's where I get my rest. However, I can't forget about other people when I am alone. So, this haiku reminds me of various times when I would walk into an empty house, enjoy the quiet for a while, and then determine the rapture probably happened and I must have missed it. As much as I enjoy being alone, sounds and sights can get to me if I'm alone for too long. So I have to have the lights on or the TV volume up so it's not as creepy. I tend to enjoy peace and quiet for a while and then slowly go stir crazy, but I rarely seek out people to hang out with, I just wonder where everyone has gone and stay wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket on the couch. When I was little, I used to be terrified of being alone, and would purposely avoid it at all costs. Now, I relish it. I'm around people so much (and they're mostly the same age) that I need time to myself. When I'm alone and it's unplanned, though, I get really worried that something's wrong or someone's not where they're supposed to be. It's a never-ending battle, I think.

roaming the house
like a cat

Taryn Pepping

children's day at the zoo
I find myself watching
the children

Swede, AU, 101

I have always been a lover of animals, so going to the zoo was amazing as a kid. I could stare at a single animal for hours just watching it and reading the informational boards about them. Still to this day animals are my favorite thing to read about and learn about. As I got older going to the zoo was still so much fun. I had a plethora of knowledge regarding animals from an early age. With this information I would tell everyone at the zoo random facts about the animals especially my little brother. Nowadays, when I go to the zoo I occasionally find myself watching the children as they see a new animal for the first time. The first look of amazement when a child looks at a lion, bear, or snake for the first time can be such a sight to see. As a biology major, finding an animal I don't know about is slightly more difficult. Occasionally though I will come across some new and interesting critter that I knew nothing about and that feeling is great. Seeing children have the same excitement that I do when I find a new animal gives me hope that the animals and nature of the future has a chance.

stroller corral
his ice cream falls
the monkey's glare

Tyler Trzcinski





grandfather's old boots
     I take them
for a walk

Swede, AU, page 62

I really liked this haiku because it reminds me of my grandpa. He was a horse, particularly Appaloosas and Quarter horse, trader and breeder for many years, and had a variety of cowboy boots. He had his old, worn down pair of leather boots he wore working on the farm, his alligator boots he'd wear into town, his fancy ostrich neck boots he'd wear to weddings, and about 20 more. My grandma always teased him that he loved his shoes more than a teenage girl.

When my grandpa passed away this past April, it was hard going through his things, especially his boots. My grandma had a hard time looking at all of his things; they'd often make her upset. So she decided to give them to us grandkids. Unfortunately, grandpa's feet were bigger than mine, so I won't be able to wear them. However, I have one of my favorite of his pairs of boots to keep with me along with a pillow made from my favorite shirt of his.

Every time I look at his boots or shirt, it reminds me of all the wonderful times I had with my grandpa. When I was younger, we would go and play in the creek, go horseback riding, go to rodeos, or just sit around the cafe chatting with all his buddies. His boots remind me of how much I miss my favorite person in the whole world.

“you only need a timble of sand”
Grandpa says
“your sister needs the whole beach”

Whitney Gray


© 2016, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.